University Autonomy

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The term "autonomous university'" typically refers to a university which exercises independent control over its day to day operations and curriculum. Alternatively, the term, along with the term "autonomous open university'", can characterize an entity that provides higher education on the Internet autonomously and without human presence or involvement. This differs distinctly from a "virtual" or "open" university which is a brand extension of a physical university on the Internet.[citation needed] British Universities benefit from the greatest freedom from Europe, according to a report by the European University Association (EUA).0 The study ‘University Autonomy in Europe II – The Scorecard’ analysed higher education systems in Europe in four areas of autonomy: organisation, finance, staffing and academic autonomy. The project covered higher education institutes in 26 countries. The UK scored the highest in all four autonomy areas, with British universities scoring 94.75% overall. Estonia, Finland and Ireland followed behind the UK, all scoring more than 81%. Greece was at the bottom of the ranking with a score of only 33%. Cyprus, France and Turkey all also achieved less than 50% on average. The power to set student numbers, to start and close academic programmes, design course content were all indicators taken into account in the study. Thomas Estermann, author of the study and head of the EUA’s Governance, Autonomy and Funding Unit, said: ‘This report and the publication of the autonomy scorecards are designed to engage all higher education stakeholders in a more in-depth debate on autonomy and ultimately help improve national higher education systems.

‘Autonomy does not mean the absence of regulations. Universities accept the challenges of working in a competitive global environment, but to do so they need the necessary managerial freedom, light and supportive regulatory frameworks and sufficient financing, otherwise they will be placed at a...
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